What exactly is SEM (search engine marketing)?

SEM (search engine marketing) is a digital marketing method for improving a website's presence in search engine results pages (SERPs).

While the phrase used to refer to both organic and paid search operations like search engine optimization (SEO), it now nearly solely refers to paid search advertising.

Paid search and pay per click are other terms for search engine marketing (PPC).

What is the significance of search engine marketing (SEM)?

With an increasing number of consumers researching and purchasing products online, search engine marketing has emerged as a critical online marketing strategy for expanding a company's reach.

In fact, the majority of new visitors to a website find it through a search engine query.

Advertisers only pay for impressions that result in visitors in search engine marketing, making it an efficient way for a company to spend its marketing dollars. As an added bonus, each visitor improves the website's organic search results rankings incrementally.

When compared to other sites such as social media, where users are not explicitly searching for something, consumers entering search queries with the intent of finding commercial information are in an excellent state of mind to make a purchase.

Search marketing reaches consumers at the optimal time: when they are receptive to new information. PPC advertising, in contrast to the majority of digital advertising, is non-intrusive and does not interfere with their tasks.

SEM produces immediate results. It is, without a doubt, the quickest way to drive traffic to a website.

How Does SEM Work?

Search engines use complex algorithms to ensure that the most relevant results, including location and other available information, are returned for each search.

Sponsored ads appear at the top and on the sides of search engine results pages to gain more visibility and prominence than organic results.

Assume you are a customer looking for a product or service on the internet. You go to a search engine and enter your keywords (also known as keywords).

You will see various company ads in your search results page whose keywords match the keywords in your search.

These ads appear prominently on the page, alongside the other search results that match your keywords. Because the paid listings are highly relevant to your specific search, you are more likely to click on them.

Let's take a look at how SEM campaigns work from the standpoint of a marketer.

SEM networks are entirely self-service. Once a marketer has decided on a network, they can launch a campaign in a relatively short period of time.

When launching a campaign through a SEM network, the marketer is prompted to:

  • Perform keyword research and choose a set of keywords related to their website or product.

  • Choose a geographic location for the ad to appear in.

  • Make a text-based ad to appear in search results.

  • Bid on the amount they are willing to pay for each ad click.

Text-only advertisements are simple to create. Marketers enter a headline, body text, a call-to-action, and a URL for the hyperlink.

Many people believe that search engine marketing is the most effective way to spend marketing dollars.

Search ad network examples

Google Ads (formerly Google Adwords) and Bing Ads are the two primary search networks that SEM professionals target.

Google AdWords consists of two networks: the Google Search Network and the Google Display Network. The first network is made up entirely of Google-owned search-related websites, whereas the second includes properties such as YouTube, Blogger, and Gmail. Customers can buy ads on both Yahoo's and Bing's websites using Bing Ads.

How A/B testing can help SEM

Given that you are already investing in search engine marketing to drive traffic to your website, it is worthwhile to optimise that traffic for conversions and increase the efficiency of your spending.

A/B testing your landing pages is a simple way to maximise your spend, whether you're looking to optimise for average order value or revenue per page.

By optimising your landing page, you can improve your Quality Score with search engine marketing networks, lowering your average CPC.

Optimizely – and similar platforms – can assist you in easily structuring and implementing A/B tests, providing real-time results to give you confidence in your business decisions. Optimizely has integrations with popular ad networks such as Google Adwords and Facebook, making it simple to set up ad-related experiments.

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